top of page



What could possibly go wrong?


All remote participants are required to complete the workshop registration link >

Download Flyer


Please Note: Out of concern for the health of our attendees, this event is going entirely virtual.

All remote participants are required to complete the workshop registration link >

Cornell Tech   |   Friday 13, March 2020​   |   11am - 6pm  

As public perceptions of autonomous vehicles waver, rigorous ethical and political analysis of the future of transport has never been more important. Looking beyond questions of driver and pedestrian safety, this workshop will investigate other possible dark sides of autonomous vehicle deployments to expose and understand societal consequences. 


There are many ways autonomous transport systems might develop. Different stakeholders pursue different visions of autonomous transport, each with different business models, technological configurations, governance structures, and policy outcomes. Each vision generates different social, ethical, and political implications that often escape ethical analyses focused exclusively on safety.


Autonomous vehicles systems also have the potential to cause economic exploitation, anti-democratic public governance, environmental degradation, and the dehumanization of public space. Now is the time to identify and avoid the worst that could happen, and to ensure these complex systems are oriented towards the improvement of individual, social and civic life.

Workshop Overview This single day event will bring together experts from engineering, policy, and industry to discuss the social implications of autonomous transport from different perspectives. We plan to explore questions such as: 


  • How different vehicle deployments change how human occupants are identified and defined, and how that may affect questions of privacy and autonomy.

  • How different business models like passenger ride-sharing, fleet management, or private vehicle ownership require different technological configurations, and what they require in terms of data flows and public accountability. 

  • How different vehicle systems require changes to public space or re-instrumenting of roadways, and who has the power to determine the shape of those new urban environments.

  • How business decisions, and the technologies required to implement them, interact with broader policy questions around public life, the environment, and international geopolitics.

Organizers | Wendy Ju, Helen Nissenbaum, Jake Goldenfein, and Sharon Ayalon (Cornell Tech);

and Silvia Ferrari (Cornell University).


Confirmed Speakers

  • Ignacio Alvarez (Intel)

  • Nahom Beyene (RAND Corporation)

  • Luke Fletcher (Toyota Research Institute)

  • Bill Horrey (AAA Traffic Safety Foundation)

  • Li Jin (New York University)

  • Alain L. Kornhauser (Princeton University)

  • Andrew Kun (University of New Hampshire)

  • Jane Lappin (Toyota Research Institute) 

  • Nikolas Martelaro (Carnegie Mellon University)

  • Janet Vertesi (Princeton University)

bottom of page